André Jolivet



Born: August 8, 1905; Paris, France   Died: December 20, 1974; Paris, France  
André Jolivet (1905-1974) was French music's most sophisticated primitivist. While conducting advanced experiments with rhythm and sonority, Jolivet also found inspiration in the magic arts of equatorial realms and the "primitive" aspects of such instruments as the flute and percussion. He declared that he was dedicated to "restoring music's original ancient sense, as the magical and incantatory expression of the religiosity Read more of human communities."

Interested in drama, painting, and literature in his youth, Jolivet eventually turned to music, studying cello and music theory at Notre Dame de Clignancourt. At 15, he wrote a ballet, and designed its set and costumes. His parents, who were artists, urged him to take up teaching, a more secure profession than composing. Nevertheless, in 1928, after a brief pedagogical career, Jolivet began an intense study of compositional technique under Paul Le Flem. In 1930, Jolivet fell under the spell of avant-garde composer Edgard Varèse, under whose influence he became especially aware of the potential of percussion in chamber and orchestral compositions. Jolivet's early works, which include a dense, atonal String Quartet and an Andante for String Orchestra, demonstrate his intimacy with the techniques of Béla Bartók, Arnold Schoenberg, and Alban Berg. In 1935, Jolivet helped found a contemporary chamber-music organization, La Spirale. The next year, this evolved into La Jeune France, dedicated to fostering modern French music; Jolivet's partners in this endeavor were Olivier Messiaen, Daniel Lesur, and Yves Baudrier. During his service in the French Army in World War II, Jolivet grew interested in primitive religion and magic, and this intellectual quest soon informed his style. Jolivet's intellectual preoccupations can be compared to Varèse's emphasis on Pythagorean number ratios as a basis of harmony and other musical components. In Jolivet's case, the results, as evidenced by the piano suite Mana, are simultaneously exotic and esoteric.

In 1943, Jolivet was named music director of the Comédie-Française, where he remained until 1959; this motivated him to develop a still adventurous, and more direct, expressive melodic style, exemplified by the virtuoso Concertino for trumpet, strings, and piano (1948) recorded by such luminaries as Maurice André and Wynton Marsalis, and the Flute Concerto of 1949, recorded by Jean-Pierre Rampal. A love-hate relationship with the Neoclassicism of the 1930s led him to experiment with the futuristic, electronic Ondes Martenot, for which he wrote a concerto in 1948, and with complex orchestrations, that evoke the sounds of Africa, East Asia, and Polynesia.

Jolivet wrote concertos for the traditional solo instruments (piano, violin, cello), but he also delighted in unusual sonic combinations. Besides frequently enlisting the Ondes Martenot, he produced such concoctions as Messe pour le jour de la paix for voice, organ, and tambourine; and Rhapsodie à Sept for clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, trombone, percussion, violin, and double bass.

Jolivet served as president of the Concerts Lamoureux from 1963 to 1968; from 1965 to 1970, he was professor of composition at the Paris Conservatory. At his death, Jolivet was regarded, with Messiaen, as one of the leading figures in contemporary French music. Read less
Browse 1-4 of 4 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    Mstislav Rostropovich: Cellist of the Century
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 559857 Release Date: 03/24/2017   Number of Discs: 43
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Nikolay Myaskovsky,  Antonín Dvorák,  Sergei Prokofiev  ... 
    Performer:  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Alexander Dedyukhin,  Alexander Dedyuhkin,  David Oistrakh  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Malcolm Sargent,  Sir Adrian Boult,  George Szell,  Herbert von Karajan  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Cleveland Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $159.98
    CD: $129.99
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  • 2.
    Jean-Pierre Rampal: The Complete Erato Recordings, Vol 2 – 1963-69
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 2564619043 Release Date: 05/26/2015   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  Traditional,  Jean-Baptiste Krumpholtz,  Gabriel Fauré,  Jacques Ibert  ... 
    Performer:  Lily Laskine,  Jean-Pierre Rampal,  Pierre Pasquier,  Bernard Fonteny  ... 
    Conductor:  Jean-François Paillard,  André Jolivet,  Theodor Guschlbauer,  André Girard  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paillard Chamber Orchestra,  Lamoureux Concerts Association Orchestra,  Vienna Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $55.98
    CD: $51.49
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  • 3.
    Erato - 50 CD Collection
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 46441 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Tomaso Albinoni,  Giuseppe Tartini,  Georg Philipp Telemann,  Giuseppe Torelli  ... 
    Performer:  Maurice André,  Pierre Pierlot,  Paul Hongne,  Jacques Chambon  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Jean-François Paillard,  Frigyes Sándor,  Kent Nagano  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ens.,  Paillard Chamber Orchestra,  Vienna Soloists  ... 
    On sale! $229.98
    CD: $218.99
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  • 4.
    Rostropovich plays Cello Works
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 447036 Release Date: 03/25/2008   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Marcel Landowski,  Rodion Shchedrin,  Renaud Gagneux,  Alun Hoddinott  ... 
    Performer:  Galina Vishnevskaya,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Hugh Seenan,  Layton James  ... 
    Conductor:  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Seiji Ozawa,  Kent Nagano,  Cristobal Halffter  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  French National Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $62.49
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